2010 April❮❮prevnext❯❯

thanks, and no fooling!


--Thanks for all the Birthday Wishes -- (Facebook especially seems to be an easy source for people to pass on a casual bit of good b-day karma)

Amber and I went to the Top of the Hub restaurant. Between that and the helicopter lesson she got for me, there's really a theme of catering to my love of high-up views. I realize that taking in the view from the restaurant was a bit of a unique experience in my life... I don't remember ever seeing such a high view of an area that I know so well -- realizing now I've been in Boston about half my life, and then working in the whole greater Copley area for a few years, and planning to do so again.
Obama's not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus.
John Fugelsang

oh YEAH!


--From a cracked.com piece on Dating Older Women. (I think it's kind of a reference to Franklin's "The Case for An Older Woman")
http://www.slate.com/id/2249415/ -nudity in "mumblecore" films. It's terrible that NC-17 is boxoffice death; sex can't be part of the art.
Tic-Tac-Toe is subtler than you may think. If X plays center, O MUST play corner; if X takes corner, O must play center AND play offensively! This means if you get to go first, you can often win - something many adults don't realize. (As we found out to general amusement at my birthday party.)
On a long enough time frame, water beats paper, scissors and rock.

Oh and RIP Henry Edward Roberts, inventor of the Altair, THE first home computer.

trek weekend 1


WTF - with youtube's redesign, sometimes the smallest embed code is for 560 across, bigger than the 500 that's pretty common for blogs...grr
iPad comes with a fully charged battery but will not let you do ANYTHING until you synch with iTunes. Sucks if you're on the road! Kind of a fail... (though I have my main laptop and can likely synch tonight.)
It's like 'after-zombie-attacks' deserted around here- it's creepy.
Amber on the American side of Niagara Falls

trek weekend 2 (*toot* *toot*)


Businesses in upstate NY I wasn't quite expecting to see: "Quaker Steak and Lube"
I wonder if Canada Dry is called American Dry up in Canada. I should've checked.
Ah Cleveland- land of my adolescence! Which is a distinct period from my eternal manchildhood. But not by much.

cleveland filler day 1


Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment
Amber and I kicked off our Cleveland trip with a jaunt up to Niagara Falls... we got there a bit before sunset, and caught some nice light...
Whoa, thought I was just super dizzy after my nap...it was an earthquake!!

Little Caesar's pizza! Man how I've missed it, the old after church standby. Still frickin' cheap, $5 for a pretty big pie (but no longer square :-( )
Of all the criticisms of the iPad, "no multitasking" is probably the least real to me. Except for, like, IM-notification, you're only doing one thing at once anyway, and a fast context switch is good enough.
The iPad feels like the future. Despite the unfortunate name, it IS "more intimate" somehow-Still this generation feels a bit gimmicky, and the lack of Flash is a bummer.
Watching Butler lose at the final second, along side 2 folks who worked there, was heartbreaking. Screw Duke and their recruited freaks.

cleveland filler day 2


"live Webcast Fail"

Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment

--WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE WATER? (Man, I need a haircut. It looks like I'm trying to hide the hairline!)
If nothing else, OH beats MA in having gas pumps where you don't have to constantly hold the handle...

cleveland filler day 3


Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment
After we took in the falls we headed over to Clifton Hill, which is a crazy mashup of glitzy and lowbrow rides and attractions. Amber consented to go on the big old ferris wheel the Sky...
It's humbling, actually. When you devote your entire life to the endless, selfless quest to improve the lives of others; when you live a monk-like existence, and focus all of your power and genius on the singular goal of creating objects that nourish souls and transform people's lives with magic and wonder; and when people tell you that this is, indeed, what you've done -- well, it's gratifying. Namaste, entire population of Spaceship Earth. I honor the place where your desire to consume becomes one with my desire to create.

http://www.metafilter.com/90762/LADYGAGA-for-14-points#3028153 - alternate rules for board games (in honor of the "dumbing down" of Scrabble) - I wonder if Candyland could be fun with those rules?
You know what I think will really revolutionize comics? People making better f*cking comics.

cleveland filler day 4


Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment
After the SkyWheel we went to Brick City, an interesting lego exhibit thing...
The truth is always a compound of two half-truths, and you never reach it, because there is always something more to say.
Tom Stoppard

Man, I can't find an iPad sketch app with really good webpublishing options... Some of that critique of it not being a creating tool is true
My kingdom for a pixel-centric iPad sketch app... I want flood fill, cropping, and resizing/anti-aliasing as the last step, damn it.
At Michael "Iron Chef" Symon's restaurant "Lolita" (corner of "Professor" and "Literary"). I'm like the Humbert Humbert of Cleveland dining!
Man- between being a bit more southerly than Boston and more westerly in the time zone, Cleveland is much lighter later. 8pm was still light!

cleveland filler day 5

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Yours 'Til Niagara Falls of the Moment
Random photos from before and after the Niagara Falls part of our trip-

coshocton and salamanca: you can't go home again

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cleveland wrapup


Sad how Outlook 2010 is trying so hard with discussion threading, and failing. A search should show you results, not hide stuff in threads!
New in iPhone OS 4: The Full App-by-App Breakdown - not much interests me except for folder for playlists and the homescreen, and FINALLY maybe the option to have an SMS character count. Still no sign of a "Ctrl-F"-style search in page feature for Safari.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/weekinreview/11giridharadas.html - interesting NY Times bit on 3rd world use of the "humble" cellphone.

on the ipad

So, being one of those dorky "first day adopters" (though not like, waiting in line or anything) I decided I would try to put my thoughts about the iPad here.

It's... cool, but overrated.

As a laptop replacement, it's not quite there, except for very casual users. The trouble isn't the general browsing; that's a fairly superb experience. Once you get the feel of scrolling and zooming, it's awesome, suddenly you have a screen where the content on the screen can exactly reflect the focus of your mind and eyes.

But then I try to do some semi-advanced things, and run into problems. The iPhone has always annoyed me with its lack of a "ctrl-F" "find matches in page" feature. I can live with that on a handheld browser, but with something with the aspirations that the iPad has, it hurts.

There are more problems for people who are used to multi-tab browsing. I kind of like the thumbnail-based way of dealing with multiple "screens" (even though the iPad is pretty bad with frequently flushing other pages out of memory, so the pages have to have their content reloaded when you come back to them) but while there's a "Open in New Page" feature, there's no "Open in New Background Page" option. That means if you prefer to open interesting links in the background, and then come back to them when you're done with the current page, you have to have your finger ready to jump to the page manager and then hit your current page- hopefully quick enough to not have it lose your page. (Actually, even if you prefer to follow new content and then come back to what you started with, you're at risk for losing your place.)

Also, the lack of Flash hurts more than I expected. I don't really miss it on the iPhone, but on something trying to provide a total browsing experience I miss it.

(The Flash thing is even more interesting with the recent decision of Apple to not allow apps that are made in, say Flash or some other environment, and then have iPhone versions generated. I was full of outrage for a while, and it still seems kind of disgusting. I've read this explanation of it that makes the decision seem slightly less evil, that don't want half-assed multiplatform ports, they want to be the focus of developer's efforts, or nothing. (On the other hand, given how flooded the app store already is...)

The keyboard is so-so. You have to type with the fleshy part of your fingers for starters, and overall I find the layout of the iPhone keyboard more consistent - in particular, having the apostrophe be in a different "mode" is a bit frustrating.

Copy-and-Pasting isn't always consistently supported across apps, and like on the iPhone, sometimes the would-be-helpful "jump to paragraph boundaries" selection feature gets it wrong and it's tough to correct.

A few apps are buggy (Twitterific often loses its scrolling when messing with links embedded in a tweet, and I think I once saw something similar in Safari.)

I guess some of my biggest iPad disappointments kind of fit the model described in The iPad: Where Creativity Goes to Die -- the idea that this is a machine geared for passively consuming content, not creating it. (Actually, maybe that idea came up not as an accusation, but as a defense of the machine's limitations.) My main justification for this expensive toy was an old one: I'm still looking for the perfect doodling device, the one that lets me sketch a cartoon and then upload it to my website. But this machine is only halfway there. I've tried 4 or 5 different sketch apps, but none of them are really pixel centric.

(Maybe I'm just a weirdo in thinking that it's nice to draw in pixels and THEN shrink the image as the last anti-aliasing step; all I know is that when I try to flood fill or otherwise color in these apps, I tend to get kinda blurry messes. There is a chance that I'm thinking about this wrong, in a weird, Mid-90s "Microsoft Paint" kind of way and I should try to get fluent in some kind of vector drawing app instead.)

But even when I have an image I want to post, my options feel limited. Ideally I'd like to just use an Upload form - but with iPad Safari that's disabled -- I'm not really making files. Each app has its own database of my images, and then most will let me transfer it to the photogallery or email it, and one will let me tweet it and another will let me post to Flikr. Bummer! I have to jump through more hoops to get to what I want, but at least half the issue is trying to have more fun with a machine geared at consuming rather than making content. (I have some similar issues when I try to manually copy tweets into my personal blog thing.)

So that's it. In my final analysis, I'd say a netbook plus iPod touch is a better way of spending what an iPad costs. On the other hand, the iPad really does feel like the way of the future, and as more tablet options emerge, my issues with this kind of system might fade away.

(It's also kind of funny how it's not independent of having a real laptop or PC - when you fire it up out of the box refuses to have anything to do with you until you synch it up with iTunes, and woe be upon you if you hadn't previously upgraded iTunes...)

There are some other issues I didn't get into - it's nice that it can use the same conector cable, and its speakers are decent for music, but it would be nice if somehow you could use the same iPhone cradle some times of external speakers depend on.

Here's another review of being hands-on with the thing.
Do not fear mistakes, there are none.
Miles Davis

First day, new job- Pearson Education. After a year of consulting-style gigs, so ready to really latch in.
Another thought to disturb slumber: For an octopus to imprison a human, all it would need is a gate with 3 doorknobs.

Punk rock was a conspiracy engineered by Gibson and Fender to convince people they didn't have to learn or practice music to buy gear.

bad, bad, charlie brown, baddest man in this whole damn town

--From these two discarded audition pieces for MAD asking what if Garfield and Peanuts took a Calvin + Hobbes approach to their subject matter? Great stuff!

http://www.macworld.com/article/150474/2010/04/ipad_not_for_everyone.html - good negative review of the iPad. For me, it's just a doodle pad
Little programs are delightful to write in isolation, but the process of maintaining large-scale software is always miserable.
Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier in "You Are Not a Gadget" presents the idea of the "circle of empathy" (similar to Peter Singer's.) Basically, things inside the circle are similar enough to you that you want to see them protected, outside you don't care so much. He then states
The liberal impulse is to expand the circle, while conservatives tend to want to restrain or even contract the circle.
Man! That's a good summary of why I always identify with liberals, even when some aspects of policy seem a bit misguided.
http://www.slate.com/id/2249306/ - Agatha Christie's beautifully "deranged", non-linear notebooks
http://weitz.de/regex-coach/ - a Windows tool for checking out your perl-ish regular expressions... intriguing...

young men of joust!


--Mr. Ibis pointed me to Steve Thomas' Art Blog and his awesome faux-vintage video game posters... he has a store with posters available, maybe I should get some of these for the "media room" basement Amber and I plan to setup -
The iPad isn't just a giant iPhone. It's a Fisher-Price activity center for adults.

hello grammer, hello fodder

Hmm. Sometimes I wish I knew more about grammar -- like when Thurber was talking about Miss Groby's attempt to teach him metonymy and synecdoche...

One of the things I liked about the game "Braid" was the quaint and charming - if ever so slightly cornball - writing. This ending of this passage gets stuck in my head:
Tim needed to be non-manipulable. He needed a hope of transcendence. He needed, sometimes, to be immune to the Princess's caring touch.

Off in the distance, Tim saw a castle where the flags flutter even when the wind has expired, and the bread in the kitchen is always warm. A little bit of magic.
The thing was I was reading "Peterman Rides Again" -- a book by and about "the" J. Peterman -- and he gave this example of his catalog's oft-exalted copy:
The cotton we have used in our uncompromising replica of Gatsby's shirt is so luminous, in and of itself, that even a person who notices nothing will notice something.

Gatsby, of course, could afford stacks of these shirts; rooms of them. Never mind. All that matters is that you have one, just one. A piece of how things were.
I wonder if there's a name for the little trick these two clips share, of ending with a short, verbless fragment giving another name for what was just described.
One cannot change the size or quantity of anything without changing its quality.
Paul Valery

David Foster Wallace's word list
Thanks to a recalcitrant laptop I spilled a big cup of bitter Au Bon Pain iced coffee on the rug at work-I know what I'll be smelling today!
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/4/7/ - Jeez, Jell-O isn't "powdered bone slime"... it's *wiggly* powdered bone slime!

Weird- the concept of synecdoche has shown up in three different, unrelated areas for me today, hadn't thought about it for years...

we are bathed in what can be called love

I had an epiphany once that I wish I could stimulate in everyone else. The plausibility of our human world, the fact that the buildings don't all fall down and you can eat unpoisoned food that someone grew, is immediate palpable evidence of an ocean of goodwill and good behavior from almost everyone, living or dead. We are bathed in what can be called love.
Jaron Lanier, from "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto"
Excellent choice of birthday gift from Amber!
Why do I keep hearing about Justin Bieber? It's like Paris Hilton circa 2003, hopefully minus the sex tape.
Funny how so many sites don't bother to set the color of the page background and assume it's white. Changing your browser default color breaks many of 'em..
Twitter is not a triumph of technology-- it's a triumph of humanity.
Biz Stone, Creative Director of Twitter.
Hubristic Creative Director is Hubristic!
Here's a decent JPEG rotator
sQuinceañera, 15th bday of my college a cappella group sQ
fun CSS hacks - , # before CSS property names and IE looks at it and other browsers don't? Yeesh.
When the girl with two forks met the boy with two knives at the Greek place on the corner... that's romance!


click to play with

zoomza - source - built with processing
My entry for Klik of the Month #34. I started an hour late, my game idea just wasn't coming together, so for the last 20 minutes I just made a doodle toy. Doodle with the mouse, space resets.

the marilyn monroe work out


--Marilyn Monroe - Amber's friend Sam let us have a print of this she didn't want when we were with her in Cleveland... thinking about using it as kind of an inspirational thing in the basement exercise-y area. Funny how much it looks like one of Madonna's main looks... maybe that's where Madonna got that bicep fetish of hers.

blender of love april 2010

[Cleaning out apartment stuff]
"Yeah, I think this heavy duty candle was part of a pack of 'Y2K surviving' stuff Mo's dad gave us..."
"Well, it worked.."
Me and Amber

When the girl with the hummus met the boy with the pita... that's romance!

three geeks

3 flavors of geekness:
C=64 retro game geeks! What makes it kind of cool is if you think of it as "The Matrix" of the C=64 -- being able to peek at all the numbers behind the world of the game, in real time...

Disney Geeks!

Finally for the gadget geeks... what's thought to be the next iPhone... (more videos and details at the link)
http://www.slate.com/id/2250663/ - the odd parallels between tampon and cigarette ads...
http://www.mycareercloud.com - my new team is beta-ing an app to help kids 13-18 think about career options...let me know what you think!
From Cultivated Play: Farmville :
Even Zynga's designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville. For such a popular game, this seems suspicious.
Heh. Wish I understood the draw of this kind of game better, maybe I could make money.
You know, Dunkin Donuts iced tea is really good and fresh-tasting. Trying to get away from gunky sweeteners, this might be the stuff.
"I solved all the girls," he whispered at me, wide-eyed, nostrils flaring, "by induction."



--from this page on Cracked.com
There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting.
David Letterman

http://www.familyradio.com/ - end of the world is May 21, 2011. I marked my calendar. No time given, guess it's an "All Day Event".
The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice...

http://lifehacker.com/5520657/do-you-snooze So "snooze button" sleep is inferior sleep (but you enjoy it more...maybe it's a wash)
I feel ever short of spare time, yet confident I could add in, say, a weekly class. How could time be so squishy? I think it's all the time thinking of what todo next...

please open door carefully


--Man, this poster outside the stairs at work brings me no end of joy.
(Especially because there's a landing, it's not like the door opens right to the stairs.)
The lost iPhone 4 story, with the phone disguised in a 3G case, reminds of how weird it seems that cases are so popular for such a durable and tactiley nice thing.
After dabbling with backpacks, back to courier bags. A child of the 80s, I always feel like a tool using both straps, and worried I might have left a flap open, or vulnerable to pickpockets. Kind of sad I can't remember what I used in college... maybe gym/duffle style bags? Or one that came with my laptop. (In high school it ws gym bags, including this one god awful huge Nike bag, I think ment for sports equipment or something.)
"Truman's in the White House eating bread and jelly. Dewey's in the pig pen rolling on his belly."
Three chains I saw in Cleveland that need to be franchised in New England: Jimmy John's (great fast subs), Steak and Shake, Sport Clips (haircuts)
Even if a goose has an iron neck, it must have a spot where you can plunge a knife in.
Ha Jin, Waiting.
It reminds me of this odd bit of dialog from the Japanese game EDF 2017, something like "Even a seemingly strong defense must have a weak point - find that weakpoint!" Both seem a bit optimistic to me, really.

UPDATE The Meryman: Gin, Diet Tonic, Lime, a Splenda. Named after its inventor Amber.


(1 comment)

So you need a typeface ....

not to brag


In the fight between you and the world, back the world.
Frank Zappa

A coworker says there's an ocean-based sequel to Avatar coming. My title idea: "Avatar 2: learn THIS language, nerds- 'blurgbuablublubgblurble'"
Good advice given yrs ago by @atomiota, an old boss: "It may not work, but we're designers, so we try it anyway." I rmmbr that all the time.

a banner year

Man, remember banner ads? These were 2-10 of banneradmuseum.com's 2000 best of. (#1 was an HP printer butterfly java applet that I can't find a working copy of.)

Whoever I got this link from on twitter pointed out the guy in the final one is kind of nightmarish...

http://www.electricsheepcomix.com/apocamon/ - fundraiser to kick off a reloaded version, 88% of the way there... http://tinyurl.com/yb7aa3t

Would you have liked any help?
Man to disgruntled looking woman finishing up folding laundry in basement, New Yorker cartoon (April 26 2010 issue)
Brilliantly concise!
Guys with wood chipper working in back lot all day, still not done. Plus it makes me think of Fargo...

remember, kids


http://www.cracked.com/photoshop_67_the-20-worst-possible-ideas-prequels_p20#20 - I grinned

to the q


The Unreachable Pyramid from Brady Hall on Vimeo.

(Very mildly NSFW). See this if you have no idea what it's on about.)
Some Sony employee designed these folding studio-ish headphones so the hinge in the back grabs your neck hair when they're around your neck- boo.
Latest anti-pedant gripe: nowadays Decimate means, roughly, leave 10% standing, not destroy 1-in-10. Language evolves, and we're not the Roman military. (OED backs this, a bit)
I need a better word for my anti-pedantic gripes. (e.g. "ATM machine" and "PIN number" actually make sense-redundancy can strengthen language)
I tend to identify people by their hair. Also, when I doodle, I start with the hair (covers and frames head) Related?

youtube resizer

Youtube has started irking me lately -- as they add more HD-ish videos, when they offer an array of size choices for people to embded one on their site, they've made it so that the smallest option is about 560 pixels across. Many blogs (including this one) find 500 to be a more pleasant default column size, so the stupid things won't fit.

However, it's generally pretty easy to change the size of a Youtube video, but there's a little bit of annoying math and some fiddly search and replace you have to do to get it right. So I made a new simple gadget off of my tools page, a Youtube Resizer
youtube resizer
embed code:
target width:
You just copy and paste in the Youtube embed code, set it to what width you want, and then copy and paste the result. Extremely non-rocket-sciency but it makes my blogging life a bit better.
i think of my nipples as an umlaut that makes my beer gut more sophisticated

One of the things I like best about Al Jazeera English? No fucking comments section.

I know my head isn't totally into CSS when I try to type foo="bar" type stuff as CSS attributes, not foo:bar;

under the river is another river


--Eerie (not Erie, dang it- the lake is much better these days) Underwater River in Mexico - that's Hydrogen Sulfide. (via archmage)
http://www.slate.com/id/2252140/ - folks at Constantin are pretty much idiotic for taking down the Hitler clips, than running ads-"Mein Gott in Himmel!"
The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
Dorothea Lange

To describe existing federal policies and regulatory approaches on obesity as a patchwork is an insult to quilts everywhere.
Marc Ambinder, "Beating Obesity" in the latest Atlantic

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/faith/heaven-a-fools-paradise-1949399.html - it is pretty amazing that our concept of heaven is so new and so widely held by Americans.
I find it tough not to get paranoid at work whenever someone shuts their office door, even if it's clearly a noise thing.

an april visual haiku

To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
aprilamber - source - built with processing

Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty

The MBTA distribution of plastic tap and go Charlie Cards, vs disposable tickets, is so weirdly half-assed. They just leave them lying around, or you gotta find someone to ask....



--I hadn't heard much about the CURTA Calculator, possibly the pinnacle of pre-electronic handheld computing devices, but you can get this nifty poster here.

It reminds me of high-end photography equipment. (Incidentally, in the slashdot story I think I got this from, they were talking about how rare really high end 80s-90s film stuff is going to be-- too expensive to build replacements for as everything shifts to digital...)
"['Left Behind' et al.] boils down to this perverse parody of John 3:16: 'God so loved the world that he sent it World War III.'"
--Yehezkel Landau, via slacktivist

2010 April❮❮prevnext❯❯